The NBA has published the list of European players that have entered their names as Early Entry Candidates for the NBA Draft 2012 yesterday. In quite weak class, there are not many first round talents in the group. See below to get a feel for the names and see our prediction on their Draft chances this year.
Mindauguas Kupsas – 2m15 – Center – 1991 – KK Baltai
The Lithuanian Center has put his name in the pool in order to see what his value is right now. The big guy who is a member of the Zalgiris Kaunas team played a lot of minutes with their second team this season in the LKL and the Baltic League. Nicely gifted but not overly athletic, Kupsas might become an interesting player in a few years in Europe but the NBA seems far away for him at the moment.
Evan Fournier – 1m99 – Shooting Guard – 1992 – PB86 Poitiers
Fournier looks to be the only first round talent in this year’s NBA Draft. Extremely fluid and elegant when attacking the basket, Fournier had a breakthrough season this year in France. He is the leader of his teams an excels in attacking the gaps and has improved his shot. Still a bit light for playing in the NBA, he will most likely stay in the Pool if he can assure a first round pick. However, he might stay in Europe as well for at least one more season in order to get used to the Euroleague or at least the Eurocup.
Prediction: 1st round
Sertac Sanli – 2m12 – Power Forward – 1991 – Galatasaray
It was not a great season for the Turkish big Sertac Sanli but he decided nevertheless to put his name into the Draft pool this year. After having seen some minutes in the beginning of the season when he was loaned to Tofas Bursa, he was not a factor anymore when he was back with his original team Galatasaray. He will probably try to get some workouts or an invite to the Adidas Eurocamp in order to showcase his value.
Furkan Aldemis – 2m07 – Power Forward – 1991 – Galatasaray
The team mate of Sanli has played a nice season after a great U20 European Championship last summer. He had a major impact in the Euroleague where he was among the best rebounders per minute. Not very useful outside of the paint, Aldemir is mainly playing inside and using a lot of Pick and Roll situations in order to score. He has an excellent feel for rebounding the ball on both side of the court and is especially effective on the offensive glass. Aldemir can develop into an interesting role player even for the NBA level. Aldemir has shown already in the Euroleague that has the level of the toughest competition in Europe and can earn more experience even next season. I think that he might stay in the Draft, even if he gets only drafted in the second round.
Prediction: 2nd round
Josep Franch – 1m91 – Point Guard – 1991 – UCAM Murcia
Constantly improving over the last seasons with his home town team of Joventut Badalona, Josep Franch made the next step by signing for UCAM Murcia last summer. But even if his stats in terms of scoring increased, the season can not be considered as a full success for Franch. His team is currently not sure yet to stay in the ACB and his minutes have been reduced throughout the season. The quick guard can attack the gaps well and is not afraid to attack the rim hard with good athletic abilities. More a scorer than a creator, Franch might have the profile to become successful in the NBA even if he has to gain a bit more experience on the highest European level first.
Nemanja Nedovic – 1m91 – Combo guard – 1991 – Crvena Zvezda
Nedovic is a highly athletic and physically strong Serbian guard who could not really impose himself as a leader in the rotation of his team yet. Mostly used as an energizer from the bench, Nedovic is not afraid to immediately attack the basket really hard. He is able to dunk over the defense but needs to become more regular from behind the arc. He has a perfect profile for playing in the NBA but needs to improve his defensive understanding of the game in order to become a factor. He has no major international experience yet on the highest level except Youth European Championships. It would not be a surprise for me if he stays in the Draft even if he has no guarantee to be drafted in the first round.
Prediction: second round
Tornike Shengelia – 2m07 – Power Forward – 1991 – Spirou Charleroi
The Georgian forward seems to be around forever but is still only an early entrant. He has gained a lot of experience by playing in different championships throughout Europe and had a nice Euroleague season this year with Spirou Charleroi. Mainly operating with his face to the basket, Shengelia is quite versatile and can score from both inside and outside. He needs to improve his rebounding but has great handles for a player of his size. He will most likely withdraw again this season in our opinion.
Abdoulaye Loum – 2m07 – Power Forward – 1991 – BCM Gravelines
Already an early entrant last year when he was still playing for Le Havre, Loum transferred to Gravlines but did not play a lot of minutes with the Senior team this season. In the Espoirs league, he averaged 18.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. He did not get invited to the Adidas Eurocamp in 2011 despite being an candidate for the Draft. Eventually, this will change this year but Loum does not seem to be really a target of a lot of teams.
Tomas Satoransky – 2m00 – Combo guard – 1991 – Banca Civica Sevilla
The season of Tomas Satoransky is somehow a disappointment in terms of statistical contribution. He averaged only 4.7ppg after being at 7.1ppg last season and even regressed in the minutes he played. However, Satoransky remains of the main talents in Europe and has certainly the potential to become a factor in the NBA down the road. Gifted with excellent athletic abilities and nice scoring potential, Satoransky is in a phase of fully learning the role of PG but remains a bit limited in his role with Sevilla.
Prediction: 1st round (if he stays in)
Joffrey Lauvergne – 2m08 – Power Forward – 1991 – Elan Chalon
Already quite experienced, the French Power Forward is more your typical Euroleague player than a NBA potential. He is characterized by good size and correct shot, Lauvergne works hard in the paint and has good positioning. Unfortunately, he goes for a lot of cheap fouls like pushing in rebounding situations and this limits his playing time. His father was already a good player but Joffrey seems to be promised to an even better career, but most likely in Europe.
Jakub Parzenski – 2m12 – Center – 1991 – Virtus Bologna
The Polish big guy has been loaned by his Italian team back to Poland this season in order to earn some experience on the professional level. This worked quite well as he averaged 6.2ppg and 3.4repg with PBG Basket Poznan. Able to shoot from outside, the long Pole wants to know his value in the NBA Draft process and will most likely opt out before the official date. His goal has to be to become a rotation for Bologna next season and from there he can move on to see what his real potential is.
Jonas Zohore Bergstedt – 2m08 – Center – 1991 – Torrelodones
A surprising name in the pool is the Danish big guy Jonas Zohore Bergstedt who played in Spain for several seasons already, but only with teams in lower divisions. He is part of a Danish generation producing more and more interesting big guys. Bergstedt was the best rebounder of the U20 European Championship of Division B last summer where he was dominating with 22.4ppg and 13.5rpg. But he has not yet made the next step in order to be a factor on the professional level as he sees only minutes in the fourth Spanish League so far.
Maximilian Kleber – 2m08 - Forward – 1992 – Würzburg
The German forward finished his season very well with the Würzburg where he even earned the starting job before the Playoffs. Kleber, who we declared as the wildcard of the German prospects to follow before this season after being out nearly 2 years with several injuries has excellent size (2m08 and not 6-5 as listed in the official NBA Press Release) and good athletic abilities. Capable of shooting from outside with a perfectible shot, Kleber remains quite unknown even on the European scene because he never played for the German Youth National teams so far. He can develop into one of the surprises of this Draft pool if he participates to the Adidas Eurocamp in June.
Lahaou Konate – 1m95 – Guard – 1991 – Evreux
Konate is a complete unknown to me. He plays in the second French League where he averages 6.8ppg and 2.7rpg.
Nika Metreveli – 2m13 – Power Forward – 1991 – Sassari
Metreveli is the second Georgian in this year’s Draft group. He plays for the Italian team of Banco di Sardegna Sassari where he sees mixed minutes. Quite a versatile player who is able to shoot from outside, Metreveli was considered a major prospect several years ago when he was signed by Montepaschi in 2007. However, he could never crack the rotation of the Euroleague team and made the right choice to move to LegaDue last season to earn more experience. Despite limited minutes as well, he made the step back to the first division where he is now playing ten minutes per game for 3.7ppg. Even if he will most likely withdraw, putting his name on the board was the right decision in order bring his name back in the mix.
Alen Omic – 2m16 – Center – 1992 – Zlatorog
The Slovenian big guy played a great season in the Adriatic League where he averaged 9.5ppg and 6.2rpg. Despite being a year younger, he was also great during the U20 European Championship in Bilbao last summer where he had 16.3 points per game. Omic is not the most athletic player but he has excellent length and he likes to score in the paint. He needs to gain a lot more experience on the highest level in order to become a factor in the European scene. Zlatorog was a good place for him to grow as he could play a lot of minutes in a young team. Now, he might need to take the next step in order to improve.
Mathieu Wojciechowski – 1m97 – Forward – 1992 – BCM Gravelines
A total unknown to me. He plays with the Gravelines Espoirs team where he averages 11.8ppg and 5.0rpg.